Militants Launch Mortars at US Troops Constructing Gaza Aid Pier

Militants launched mortar rounds at American forces marshaling in the area to construct a floating pier in Gaza, US officials confirmed Thursday. 

The mortar attack caused minimal damage but highlighted the vulnerability of the operation aimed at getting desperately needed food supplies into the war-torn region.

While US ships involved remain offshore for now, American troops were working on assembling the pier structure miles from Gaza when the mortars struck their staging area, according to the Pentagon. Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder said the pier itself is still “nowhere near mortar range.”

US President Joe Biden announced the temporary maritime corridor and pier plan last month amid rising alarm about potential mass starvation in the war zone and Israel’s continued reluctance to allow aid into Gaza.

Early this month, Israeli air strikes repeatedly hit a convoy of aid workers as they drove out of a World Central Kitchen (WCK) warehouse. Palestinian Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, British citizens John Chapman, James Kirby and James Henderson, US-Canadian citizen Jacob Flickinger, Australian Lalzawmi Frankcom, and Polish citizen Damiam Sobol were killed in the attack. The aid workers were on vehicles that bore the WCK logo on their roofs and were said to be traveling through a pre-approved route and had coordinated with the Israel Defense Forces.

Once completed in early May, the floating pier and causeway will facilitate the delivery of up to 150 aid trucks per day from humanitarian vessels into Gaza, supplementing existing routes. 

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